The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is proposing fines totaling $435,000 against New Jersey packaging firm Douglas Stephen Plastics Inc. for a series of rules violations it said expose employees to amputation and electrical hazards.
The company, which according to its website is an injection molder and vacuum former of disposable food packaging in Paterson, N.J., said it would appeal.
President Douglas Graff called the complaint "ridiculous" and said the company has a good safety record.
In an April 12 news release, OSHA said it inspected the company Oct. 2 in response to a complaint about unsafe workplace hazards and "imminent danger" from blocked emergency exits.
The agency issued 17 separate violations, although more than $300,000 of its proposed fines come from three complaints that OSHA termed "willful" violations of rules for energy control and lockout/tagout, machine guarding and safe operation of powered industrial trucks, OSHA said.
"The employer did not establish a program consisting of an energy control procedure, employee training and periodic inspections" for maintenance and servicing operations, OSHA said.
Graff, however, disputed the agency's complaint. He said OSHA "came in on the excuse of an anonymous complaint," which he said was unfounded, and "spent the next six months here."
He said the company corrected issues the agency identified and said OSHA has never had to come to the company because of a workplace accident.
"Nobody has ever been hurt here," Graff said. "It's ridiculous what they came up with."
OSHA released a 35-page report detailing its findings, including for the three largest fines.
The agency is proposing a $116,402 fine for violations of energy control rules and listed four machines where it said employees were exposed to amputation and electrical shock hazard during maintenance and other operations, and said "the equipment was not locked out [and] tagged out."
OSHA also proposed a fine of $99,770 because the company "did not ensure that each powered industrial truck operator is competent to operate" the equipment safely, with demonstrated successful training.
The complaint also said OSHA is proposing another $116,402 in fines for violating machine guarding rules, and it identified several machines where employees faced amputation hazards: "One or more methods of machine guarding was not provided to protect the operator and other employees."